IRCS Trains Thousands of Volunteers in Rescue Ops

IRCS Trains Thousands of  Volunteers in Rescue OpsIRCS Trains Thousands of  Volunteers in Rescue Ops

The Iranian Red Crescent Society is a non-government organization dealing with a variety of humanitarian issues. The IRCS statute ratified by the Majlis (parliament) defines its goals as: alleviation of human suffering, promoting peace and entente, and advocating healthy life for all.

In practice, IRCS takes part in humanitarian rescue operations in natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, both in national and international arenas.

Dr. Mehdi Najafi, chief of IRCS Education Department says the society’s duties go beyond national borders. “Given that we are a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), IRCS has to rise to the occasion whenever and wherever there is a need,” he said, quoted by Salamat News Weekly.

IRCS duties include promoting public awareness for unforeseen disasters as well as planning and preparatory training of rescue teams. Additionally, the organization offers education and training services to volunteers. While IRCS has 7000 employed staff, the majority of services offered to the public are by thousands of volunteers.

Currently, kindergartens recruit volunteers through the “Ghonche hay-e helaal” (Crescent blossoms) initiative where age-appropriate modules are taught to children. The youth wing of the society is open to volunteers below the age of 29. Older volunteers are assigned to various rescue teams based on their field of interest for professional training. “For instance, if a volunteer is interested in swimming and water sports, he or she will receive training as a lifeguard for rescue operations during floods.” All volunteers receive preliminary training in first aid and rescue operations, he said.

The rescue teams are ranked based on their skills and assigned to supervisory groups so that the presence of a large number of volunteers at a crisis location does not cause chaos and confusion. “However, it should be noted that Iran’s Crisis Management Organization is in charge of disaster management that involves preparedness in energy supplies, overseeing gas lines, and road safety,” Najafi said, “while the IRCS mainly addresses rescue operations.”

May 8 -15 is observed annually as the IRCS Week in Iran to honor the work of the society.